Hymn #463: I Look to You in Every Need

Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892) wrote this text for a hymnal he edited in 1864.  Theistic in nature, the hymnal gives evidence of Longfellow's move away from Unitarian Christianity.  This was one of the earliest American hymns to connect faith with physical and spiritual well-being.


Samuel Longfellow was the younger brother of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  During his education at Harvard University (Massachusetts), he and a friend edited A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotions.  In 1864, they edited a second hymnal, Hymns of the Spirit.

This tune, O JESU, was first found as the setting for a German hymn that began "O Jesu, warum legst du mir," from which its name derives.  Longfellow's text was first paired with this German tune in The English Hymnal (1906).


J. Balthasar Reimann (1702-1749) published a songbook in 1747 entitled Sammlung Alter und Neuer Melodien Evangel.  The collection was unique in that it contained two of only a few chorale melodies thought to be written by J. S. Bach.  Reimann once met Bach and modeled his own life after that composer.